We are grateful that yesterday we were able to ask questions live to two apostles, Elder Oaks and Elder Christofferson. The overwhelming response of questions sent to the Tribune demonstrate Church members’ hunger to hear more from those whom we sustain. An active member in good standing asked: “I want to understand whether publicly supporting gay marriage or groups like Ordain Women could cause me to lose my recommend. If I privately believe in these ideas would I still be temple-worthy, and if so, then why would the act of public expression make me unworthy if a privately held belief does not. What is the difference between a belief and its expression?”
Elder Christofferson responded, “We have members in the Church with a variety of different opinions and beliefs and positions on these issues…but…in our view it doesn’t become a problem unless someone is out attacking the church and its leaders, trying to get others to follow them, to draw others away, trying to pull people out of the church, or away from its teachings and doctrines. That’s very different for us, than someone who feels one way or another on a political stance or a particular action to support a group, Affirmation or any others that you named.”
We appreciate Elder Christofferson’s acknowledgement that Church members can have differing positions on issues like women’s ordination. We also are glad that he clarified what constitutes crossing a line: attacking the Church and its leaders by attempting to draw members out of the Church or away from its doctrines. We unequivocally state that Ordain Women seeks to help people remain in the church by providing a safe space to articulate their opinions on gender inequality, about which they previously might have felt alone. In fact, Kate Kelly urged everyone, “Don’t leave. Stay and make things [in the Church] better” in response to the outpouring of grief over her discipline.
We also affirm that Ordain Women teaches no doctrine, let alone false doctrine. All our positions are in line with current Church doctrine and policies: that is, we recognize and comply with the current policy that only men are ordained to priesthood offices. We are simply expressing our heartfelt desire for further light and knowledge through continuing revelation from God. We are grateful that Ally Isom, Church spokesperson, clarified the question on 6/16/14 about where in Mormon doctrine it says that women cannot hold the priesthood when she answered, “It doesn’t.” We also are motivated by the following quote from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism: “Achieving the fulness of the priesthood of the Son of God is the great goal of all faithful Latter-day Saints, because it is the power of God unto salvation and eternal lives.”
Because Mormon women lack institutional authority and access to those leaders who have the ability to receive revelation on behalf of the Church, public advocacy is one of the few options open to us. We desire to work with the Church, not against it, to keep people in the Church, particularly those who feel alone in their desire for women’s ordination through continuing revelation.